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Oil spill: Panel says PTTGC not at fault

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A ruptured hose, bad weather and customs procedures were the reasons for the last month's oil spill's severe impact, an investigation committee said Wednesday. 

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The hose that cracked and caused last month's oil spill off Rayong. (Photo courtesy of PTT Plc)

Panel clears PTTGC of wrongdoing

Yuthana Praiwan
Patsara Jikkham

Volunteers from the government and the private sector join in clearing traces of the oil spill at Koh Samet's Ao Phrao on Saturday. The activity aimed to restore tourist confidence in the beach, involved Thais and foreigners. APICHIT JINAKUL

PTT Global Chemical Plc (PTTGC) correctly handled the oil leak off Rayong last month but bad weather and the customs procedure were the reasons for the spill's severe impact, an investigation committee said Wednesday.

The committee set up by Energy Minister Pongsak Raktapongpaisal found PTTGC followed operational procedures appropriately to cope with the accident by using dispersants and attempting to use an aeroplane in spraying, Vichien Keeratinjakal, a senior member of the National Environment Board, said.

However, booms that were used to try to contain the spill did not work well due to strong winds and currents, the committee found, which caused the oil to spread to Ao Phrao on Koh Samet.

Mr Vichien said that after the oil leak was detected about 6.30am, PTTGC contacted a Singaporean agency 15 minutes later to seek a plane to spray dispersants.

The plane entered the customs process about noon but it was held by customs until 2pm before arriving in Rayong at 3pm, he said.

"If the plane had been operational much sooner, less than half the oil would have hit Ao Phrao," Mr Vichien said.

He said the committee proposed the oil and gas industry share expenses to purchase planes of their own to spray dispersant immediately to prevent a repeat of such an incident.

The committee also revealed that a ruptured hose was the cause of the oil leak. If the hose was found to be made from defective materials, PTTGC could demand compensation from the supplier, chief executive Anon Sirisangtaksin said. He declined to mention the name of the company that supplied the hose.

PTTGC has also set up another committee to look into technical aspects and pursue additional investigations about the cause of the hose breakage.

Rayong province after the oil spill reached the tourist attraction in late July. SITHIKORN WONGWUDTHIANUN

Mr Vichien said PTTGC staff handled the hose properly.

"Before loading the crude oil to the refinery, PTTGC staff checked the hose carefully so I wonder why the hose broke," Mr Vichien said.

Khunying Thongthip Ratanarat, the chairman of the committee, confirmed that all the valves were completely turned off immediately after the breakage, causing crude oil in the 300-metre-long hose to spill between a barge and a mooring. She said the hose had a volume of about 54,341 litres.

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aim: to have as your purpose or goal - มีเป้าหมาย มีจุดมุ่งหมาย

appropriate: suitable or right for a particular situation or purpose - ที่เหมาะสม

aspect: one part of a situation, problem, subject, etc - ด้าน,มุม

barge: a long flat boat used on rivers and barges - เรือท้องแบน

boom: a long pole - ไม้ขวางที่ผูกข้างเรือ

chief executive: the person with the highest rank in a company or an organisation - ผู้บริหารสูงสุด

committee: a group of people who are chosen, usually by a larger group, to make decisions or to deal with a particular subject - คณะกรรมการ

compensation: money that someone receives because something bad has happened to them - เงินชดเชย

confidence: being certain of your abilities or of having trust in people, plans, or the future - ความมั่นใจ

contain: to prevent from spreading; to keep within limits - จำกัด,ควบคุมไว้

cope with: to deal successfully with a difficult situation or job - จัดการกับปัญหา แก้ปัญหา

crude oil: oil that is still in its natural state (crude) before processed in a refinery and made into chemicals - น้ำมันดิบ

current: a strong movement of water in one direction - กระแสน้ำ

customs: the checking and collecting of taxes on goods leaving or entering the country, carried out by the customs department - งานที่เกี่ยวข้องกับภาษีศุลกากร

decline: to say politely that you will not accept something or do something - ปฏิเสธ

defective: having a fault or faults; not perfect or complete - มีข้อบกพร่อง, มีจุดอ่อน

detected: noticed, discovered or found out - จับได้ พบได้

dispersant: a chemical that is used to make some substance "disperse" or move away from an area - ตัวกระจาย

due to: because of - เนื่องจาก

environment: a place, including all the physical conditions that affect it, in this case the environment on a computer screen, i.e., its interface - อินเตอร์เฟส สภาพแวดล้อม

handle: to deal with a situation, a person, an area of work or a strong emotion - ควบคุม, ปฏิบัติ,จัดการ

immediately: happening right after something else with no delay; right away - ทันที

impact: an effect or influence - ผลกระทบ

incident: something that happens, usually something bad - เหตุการณ์

investigation: the process of trying to find out all the details or facts about something in order to discover who or what caused it or how it happened - การสอบสวน, การตรวจสอบหาข้อเท็จจริง

leak: (of a liquid or gas) flowing out of a hole or crack - การรั่วไหล

material: a substance that things can be made from - วัตถุ

mention: to refer to someone or something in speech or writing - กล่าวถึ, เอ่ยถึง, พูดถึง

mooring: the place where a ship or boat is moored, attached by ropes, chains, etc. - ท่าจอดเรือ

oil spill: the release of a oil (or any liquid petroleum hydrocarbon) into the environment, especially marine areas (oceans, lakes, rivers, etc.), due to human activity, and is a form of pollution. - น้ำมันรั่ว

operational: connected with the way in which a business, machine, system, etc. works - เกี่ยวกับปฏิบัติการ

operational: working; able to be used - ที่สามารถใช้งานได้

prevent: to stop somebody from doing something; to stop something from happening - ขัดขวาง, กัน, กีดขวาง

private sector: businesses and industries that are not owned or controlled by the government - ภาคเอกชน

procedure: a way of doing something - ขั้นตอนการดำเนินการ

pursue: to work at something or carry it out - ทำให้ลุล่วง

refinery: a factory where a substance such as oil is refined (= made pure) - โรงกลั่น

restore: to bring somebody/something back to a former condition, place or position - กลับคืน, กลับมารับตำแหน่ง

reveal: to let something become known - เปิดเผย

rupture: to be broken or burst apart - แตก, ฉีกขาด, แตกออก,

seek: to try to obtain or achieve something - พยายามได้มา

senior: with a high rank or position - อาวุโส

severe: very serious and unpleasant - รุนแรง

spray: to cover somebody/something with very small drops of a liquid that are forced out of a container or sent through the air - ฉีด, พ่น

supplier: a person or company that supplies goods - ผู้จัดหาสิ่งของให้, ผู้ผลิตสินค้าและวัตถุดิบ

traces: very small amounts of a substance - ร่องรอย

valve: the part of a machine or equipment that opens and closes to control the flow of liquid or gas - ลิ้นปิดเปิด (เครื่องยนต์, เครื่องดนตรีใช้เป่า, หัวใจ, หลอดเลือด)

volunteer: someone who is not paid for the work that they do - อาสาสมัคร

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